Recently, I read ‘ My Journey’ by Dr Abdul Kalam. We are indeed lucky to have had a person of his calibre as one of our Presidents. In this book he writes about the smaller, lesser known happenings in his life. Smaller but very significant. He has written these wonderful words about his mother and sister.
“Two of them together symbolize for me the resilience and resourcefulness of the ordinary Indian woman. This woman is a person who cannot be cowed down too long by her circumstances. Often she goes through life without recognizing her own dreams and ambitions. Where are her own dreams, I wonder? Destiny, tradition, situations will test her again and again…Yet, she will find a way… and she will do it with such love that it will inundate your heart.”
I think this is true for women all over the world.
As I read these lines I remembered Kamala. I meet her on my way back home. We just smile and go on. She usually wears a sari, but the other day she was wearing a salwar kameez and looking very nice. I stopped to tell her that and we talked for some time and she told me quite a lot about herself. She and her husband are from the northern part of our state. Her husband faced some financial problems in his business. They came here in search of work and have been here for the past twelve years. Her husband works as a security staff and she works as a cleaner in many shops. She told me that she was married at the age of 11 and at once said no should be married at such a young age. She is only 38 now. They have two sons and she and her husband have worked hard to give them education. She believes leaving their home town and coming so far has been fully justified, there is a sense of achievement at being able to give education to her sons. The elder one is working. The younger one will complete his studies soon. She is one of those ordinary Indian woman Dr Kalam has spoken about. She has supported her husband through thick and thin.
As I was writing this I heard Asha, my vegetable seller calling out to me. She is back now with her daughter and grand-daughter. All those problems and misery of those earlier days are in the past and they are very happy. There is a very sweet smile on her face when she talks about her grand-daughter, whose name is Jaya.
It means ‘victory’. So apt. Also victory of all those nameless ordinary women the world over.
( The photo is of Asha leaving with her vegetable basket on her head and a cover in her hand)